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Ways to increase supplier engagement

20 January 2023

Digital supply chain programs are being ranked as one of the highest priorities for supply chain leaders in 2023 and many focus on driving supply chain visibility as a starting point.
𝗦𝘂𝗽𝗽𝗹𝗶𝗲𝗿'𝘀 𝗩𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 is An important aspect for gaining supply chain visibility which is overlooked in many cases as can be clearly seen in the research below ranking supplier visibility with the lowest effectiveness score.

Supplier visibility
is ranked with the lowest effectiveness score
End-to-End Purchase Order visibility

Supplier visibility is a critical part of your supply chain management and helps monitor supplier performance, manage the entire PO life cycle, identify risks and opportunities, improve relationships with suppliers and reduce costs.


Ways to increase supplier engagement
  • Keep communication lines open - Ensure you regularly communicate with your suppliers to stay up-to-date on their performance and any changes that might affect your purchase orders. This communication can take many forms, but the supplier portal is the best tool for communication. Your organization can benefit significantly from a self-service supplier portal. You can drastically reduce, if not eliminate, the time you spend answering routine calls from suppliers with questions about PO changes, invoices, and payments.
  • Be clear about your expectations - It is essential to be clear about your expectations for supplier performance from the outset. Make sure you communicate your expectations clearly and concisely so there is no room for misunderstanding. Once these expectations are established, you can hold suppliers accountable for meeting them. This will help to ensure that your supply chain runs smoothly and efficiently.
  • Offer incentives for good performance - One way to keep suppliers engaged and motivated is to offer incentives for good performance. These can take many forms, from financial bonuses to preferential treatment in future business. Whatever form they take, these incentives can be a powerful motivator for suppliers to maintain high-performance standards.
  • Be willing to negotiate - Suppliers are more likely to be engaged if they are treated fairly. As such, it is essential to be willing to negotiate with suppliers on terms such as prices and delivery schedules. By showing that you are ready to compromise, you can build trust and goodwill with suppliers, which can help to keep them engaged in the long term.

Build long-term relationships
Supplier engagement is often more successful when part of a long-term relationship. By taking the time to build strong relationships with suppliers, you can create a sense of loyalty and commitment that can be difficult to achieve with one-off transactions. These long-term relationships can be beneficial for both sides, as they provide stability and predictability in an otherwise uncertain world.

Make use of a supplier portal
A supplier portal enables supply chain management teams to save time and money by optimizing the life cycle and response time of their POs, sharing and presenting information, and providing users with a holistic experience. IDAS.AI This Supplier Portal solution is easy to use and highly efficient. It is a tool that provides complete and accurate information on active orders, prices, characteristics, quantities, lots, destinations, shipments, estimated delivery time, and delivery confirmations. The portal solution provides a secure and efficient online environment, increasing supplier participation rates and information sharing.

Risk Assessment and Monitoring
Always assess the risks of partnering with a supplier, particularly a new supplier, especially if your supply chain is complex. Gathering the correct supplier data is critical for provider selection and evaluation. Inquire about references, examples of previous projects, years in business, fields of expertise, how they handle crises, what they did the last time they faced a crisis, and so on. Are they reasonably priced? Do they have the necessary experience? Do they have the ability to handle your orders? Is their financial situation stable? These are just a few of the inquiries you should make. Perhaps the supplier you choose is not the cheapest but guarantees 100% on-time delivery; you can deal with that since a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If your vendor fails you, your entire supply chain may be jeopardized, affecting your ability to deliver to your customers.

Supplier agreements that are detailed and fair
Supplier Agreements with a powerful contract management process are required if you buy from a vendor regularly. Everything is fine until it isn't, so make sure you have a contract in place. Make a list of everything that all parties expect from your partnership, such as the product or provider characterization, price, terms of delivery, payment terms, communications, and so on, and have both parties sign it. Depending on your company's needs, this could be a simple or complex document. A very well Supplier Relationship Agreement will decrease the likelihood of misunderstandings or disputes. It's a good idea to create a process flow chart to explain the procedure to your team so that everyone understands their roles and can spot problems in the workflow. If the accord is fair and reasonable to both parties, it will be easier to comply with the terms. Avoid attempting to impose unreasonable expectations.

Take and Give
A good relationship has a 50/50 split, but a great relationship has a 100/100 split. Businesses are frequently so focused on what they require that they fail to consider the perspectives of their suppliers. Simply asking your suppliers for feedback, questions, and goals can inspire them and significantly impact your relationship. Suppliers value the chance to interact with someone who will listen, learn, and consider what they have to offer. This dialogue will also enable your suppliers to identify current or unforeseen account issues and educate you on changes in their business models.

Recognize Achievements
Celebrate accomplishments and milestones, no matter how minor they appear. Appreciation is critical to maintaining the relationship and inspiring future engagements. A conference call or a simple thank-you mail can serve as an acknowledgment. Recognizing a supplier's hard work, no matter how you do it, will only encourage continued success.